ZOOM DRAIN franchise review: Kimberly Kean of Seattle

A red and blue ZOOM DRAIN truck drives down asunny tree-lined street in a suburban neighborhood.

ZOOM DRAIN franchise review: Kimberly Kean of Seattle

Plumbing business owner finds ZOOM DRAIN systems elevate her business — and her revenues — to a whole new level

Like many of our franchisees, Kimberly Kean was already familiar with the plumbing industry before she joined ZOOM DRAIN as a franchise owner. She and her business partner, Dennis Hamon, own a plumbing and heating business in Seattle. Kean won a contest to spend a day with our COO, Ellen Rohr, who then mentored Kean and her partner for a year after that, “which was amazing,” she says. When Rohr mentioned that Zoom was going to franchise, she didn’t jump right away. Kean talks about what finally swayed her and how her business is doing today in this ZOOM DRAIN franchise review.

When did you become a ZOOM DRAIN franchisee?

We signed in June of 2018 and we started actually working for customers in October of 2018.

How did you find out about ZOOM DRAIN?

I won a contest, Win a Day with Ellen. She was in our business for a day and then did follow-up coaching with us for a year after that, which was amazing. Through the course of that, she kind of mentioned that they were starting Zoom, so we just talked about it on and off before we actually joined. It took us a couple of years to decide to do it.

What was the deciding factor? What made you say, “You know what? This is what we need to do.”?

We knew that in order to grow the business, we would really need to put a lot of infrastructure in place. We knew that the structure that a franchise would provide would help us grow faster. And if the information was already there, the model is there, we thought it’d be more exciting to grow that business than to write all that paperwork.

Do you still have your first business?

We do. But we have basically referred all sewer and drain work to our ZOOM DRAIN franchise. Our plumbing and heating business does a very, very limited scope of work for drain cleaning, then the rest of the business goes to Zoom.

What kind of demand have you seen for ZOOM DRAIN services?

We anticipated with our company that we would be able to keep one truck busy full-time. We thought there was probably somewhere between $300,000 to $500,000 worth of business sitting inside our plumbing and drain company. When we actually made the transfer of the sewer and drain calls to ZOOM DRAIN, we had two trucks running. There was probably a half-million dollars just sitting inside our plumbing company that we weren’t really taking advantage of because either we weren’t set up to do it, or the plumbers at the end of the day were tired and didn’t want to do a main line call, and we just didn’t have designated staff to do things,

How have you been able to handle such an increase in business?

All of the Zoom techs are so much better trained. They provide a better service. Our plumbers are thrilled usually to hand off the call… We thought it might be this way, but we weren’t sure until we saw it for ourselves.

What is the mix of residential versus commercial business?

In our case, our plumbing and heating company is probably about 90% residential. So that’s also the bulk of our customers for our ZOOM DRAIN business, since our biggest referral source is our plumbing and heating company. But with Zoom, what’s been great is that we’ve been able to utilize their models for commercial service. It’s kind of opening up a whole new opportunity for us that we weren’t very familiar with before. With drain cleaning, it’s a little different than plumbing in that it’s easier to be competitively priced. Now we’re going after commercial in a way that we never did before.

When you decided to become a ZOOM DRAIN franchise owner, how many people did you decide to hire? How did they get trained?

We have six total team members there and all of them have been trained using the training manuals that Zoom provided us — their classes, their schedules, their training materials. We’ve used it to train every employee other than our very first person that we decided was going to be the person that would spearhead this ZOOM DRAIN business. He already had a lot of experience, so that was very helpful. But then he utilized all of those materials to train every employee that we’ve hired.

How large would you like to grow your franchise?

We bought one territory to start with and then this year in January we bought a second territory, that was adjacent to our territory because we just wanted to. We’re in a metropolitan area that has about 4 million people, and we want all of that.

What has been the most pleasant surprise about this business and the way it works?

I think the most pleasant surprise is, when we are ready to grow to the next level, it’s all there. It’s already worked in, it’s already in ServiceTitan. The paperwork is already in the franchise folders. It’s like it’s been done before, how to do it, who does it, the meetings to implement it. The paperwork’s there. When we’re ready, it’s already created. And so it’s been very seamless. We can just adopt it and move on. It’s not a complicated process.

What is your staffing like?

We have one service manager right now and four techs and one apprentice.

And you just scale up as demand requires?

Yes, and as our capacity allows. If we weren’t running another business as well, we potentially could have scaled faster. I also feel like we have a great opportunity because we have so much referral business. We’re scaling up right now as fast as we can hire and train.

Is there anything else that you think a prospective buyer would want to know about ZOOM DRAIN?

What comes to mind is two things: first, that the support is phenomenal. And the second thing is that initially there is so much information, it feels overwhelming. But I can attest to the fact that a year into running the company, it really started to feel very manageable. And we’re running two companies. So I think it’s very manageable. It really does feel like, “Wow, this is a system. We can do this. All the pieces are in place.” That’s how it’s felt for me.

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